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Statewide IPM Program, University of California

Coast Fiddleneck  (Amsinckia menziesii var. intermedia)

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Life stages of Coast Fiddleneck seedling seeds young plant flower head mature plant

Coast fiddleneck is a native winter annual with upright stems, found throughout California to about 5600 feet (1700 m). It inhabits agricultural land and other disturbed areas. Of the many Amsinckia species and varieties in California, coast fiddleneck is most often reported as a weed, although it is a desirable component of wildlands. Coast fiddleneck fruits can be toxic to livestock when consumed in quantity. Poisonings most often occur when livestock ingest contaminated grain or feed.


Grasslands, pastures, roadsides, agronomic crop fields, orchards, vineyards, and disturbed open and often dry places.


Cotyledons (seed leaves) are deeply lobed and "Y" shaped. Lobes are sparsely hairy and narrowly egg shaped with rounded tips. First and later leaves are long and narrow, with stiff hairs and smooth edges. Leaves are alternate to one another along the stem.

Young plant

Young plants exist as rosettes until the flower stem develops.

Mature plant

Coast fiddleneck reaches up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall. Leaves are alternate to one another along the stem and are stalkless, except for the short-stalked lower leaves. Leaves are long and narrow to spear shaped with smooth edges and sparsely to moderately covered with stiff, bristly hair.


Flowers bloom mostly from March through June. The distinctive flowering head curls like the neck of a fiddle and is lined on one side with small tubular yellow orange to pale yellow flowers.


Fruits consist of four, erect, one-seeded nutlets that separate after dispersal. Sometimes only two to three nutlets develop to maturity.


Nutlets are gray, triangular to egg shaped, with a sharply textured or ridged surface. They are about 1/7 of an inch (3.5 mm) or less in diameter.


Reproduces by seed.

Related or similar plants

Heliotrope, Heliotropium spp.

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